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The Power Report: Go Weekly stops publication; Suntory joins Kisei sponsors; Honinbo title downgrade

John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal | Published on 9/9/2023

Go Weekly to Cease Publication

The Nihon Ki-in has announced that Go Weekly will cease publication later this year. The final issue will be the September 4 one, which will be published on August 28. The weekly was founded in November 1997 and at its peak had a circulation of 200,000. Recently, however, that has dropped to 20,000. 


Suntory Joins Kisei Sponsors

Late in April, the Nihon Ki-in announced that Suntory Holdings, the pre-eminent drink manufacturer in Japan, would become a special sponsor of the Kisei title for the whole of the 48th term, that is, from the start of the S League until the awards ceremony in April next year.

Honinbo Title Downgraded

Japanese go fans were shocked when it was announced at a press conference at the Nihon Ki-in that the Mainichi Newspaper was going to reduce the scale of its sponsorship of the Honinbo tournament by about two thirds as of the 79th term. First prize will drop from ¥28,000,000 to ¥8,500,000, which also means that the tournament will drop from 3rd-ranked to 5th. The Honinbo League will be abolished, and the time allowance will be reduced to three hours for all games (down from eight hours in the title match and five hours in the league). The challenger will be the winner of the last section of the tournament, a 16-player knock-out (as with most other tournaments, this will be called the "main tournament," but it would be more accurate to call it the "final preliminary round").

The Honinbo tournament was founded in 1939 and its full-scale version concludes in the 78th term with the title match between Ichiriki and Iyama. The tournament is rich in tradition, such as having the winner adopt a special name. The go press in Japan often refers to Iyama Yuta as Honinbo Monyu; will future Honinbo winners follow this tradition? 

The financial downgrading of the tournament will affect all professionals, as presumably all tournament fees, from the earliest elimination round will be affected. It will also hurt the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in, as they take a percentage of the sponsorship fees for managerial expenses. However, this kind of information is not readily available. I may be able to report on the details of the transition at a later date. 



Morishima Kaoru 8-dan, a member of the Nagoya (Central Japan) branch of the Nihon Ki-in, died on April 29, aged 84. 

Su Kaiseki 8-dan died of prostate cancer on April 16. Su was born in Shanghai on September 22, 1948. He became 1-dan in 1968 and reached 7-dan in 2000. He retired in 2015 and was promoted to 8-dan. After his death, he was promoted to 9-dan.

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